#OTM2020: celebrating progress in mobility

#OTM2020: celebrating progress in mobility

The lockdown period reaffirmed the importance of South Africa’s transport industry. It is fitting that this year’s Transport Month focused on the impact that roads have on our economy

The road-safety information portal ArriveAlive.co.za has summarised it best: “October was declared Transport Month in 2005 during the Transport Lekgotla. It is used to raise awareness on the important role of transport in the economy and to encourage participation from civil society and business, including the provision of a safe and more affordable, accessible and reliable transport system in the country.”

The government’s official website (www.gov.za) noted that, in its inception, “the October Transport Month (OTM) was a call to action for members of the public to use public transport in order to address the challenges of traffic congestion on the South African roads. Over the years, OTM has evolved into a campaign that demonstrates service delivery across all modes of transport”.

At the start of this year’s instalment (on October 1) the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, posted a tweet encapsulating #OTM2020: “Under the theme, ‘Together shaping the future of transport’, today we launched October Transport Month. This month we will highlight the impact roads have in the economy, accelerating service delivery of roads infrastructure projects and intervening where necessary.”

This year’s campaign was launched in KwaZulu-Natal at the Mpumalanga Regional Stadium in Hammarsdale. The Minister also used this opportunity to launch the Hammarsdale Interchange Project, which was implemented between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, forming part of the government’s second phase of strategic integrated projects.

“At a cost of nearly R400 million, this upgrade project – which started four years ago – produced jobs for nearly 250 local residents,” Mbalula said. “Road infrastructure is good for economic development.”

“Our investments in the transport sector are aimed at stimulating development and creating jobs as part of the country’s nine-point plan,” www.gov.za highlighted. “These investments will ensure that we build an integrated public transport network across the country.”

On October 6 the Department of Transport posted a tweet that confirmed what the Minister said: “Investment in roads infrastructure upgrades, especially in rural and marginalised communities, provides an opportunity for generating economic growth, alleviating poverty and increasing international competitiveness.”

The parastatal noted that it and its entities will showcase transport infrastructure services in aviation, maritime, public transport and roads. “This month will also be used to further advance the country’s road safety initiatives, while creating awareness of the economic benefits of the sector.”

On October 1 the Western Cape’s Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) also kickstarted its Road Safety Management initiative, which aims to reduce the number of people injured and killed on the province’s roads (through road safety awareness and education campaigns and programmes).

The DTPW focused on driver awareness through pamphlets that were handed to motorists at the roadblock near the Somerset Weighbridge. “To observe and advance South Africa’s road safety initiatives is one of the Transport Month’s objectives,” it said in a news statement.

As ArriveAlive.co.za so eloquently stated: “Transport Month is a time to celebrate the progress made in increasing mobility for all in South Africa. It is also a time to raise awareness about the various modes of transport available and how to travel safely across our beautiful country.”

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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